Ideal Weight Capacity of Wood Table – (With In-depth Information)

How Much Weight Can a Wood Table hold

Are you curious how much weight can your newly bought or custom-made wood table can hold? Well, you are not alone. I have faced the same problem when first I built my computer table.

After quite a lot of research on how much weight can hold for each and every wood table type, like computer table, coffee table, dining table, lack table, etc. And here is what I found.

How much weight can a wood table hold?

The maximum load capacity of the wood table is about 150 lbs. (68kg). The average amount of weight that we use to keep on a desk is only about 15 lbs. In general, a wood table is well enough to bear any load, because it is actually difficult to imagine 150 lbs. on a wood table.

For example, the total weight of the mouse, keyboard, external monitor plus monitor stands less than 15 lbs. weight on a wood table.

But there are some occasions that we have to consider especially when a large amount of weight going to apply to a small area of the table unevenly, Strength and type of the wood that table is made of, maximum bending capacity, type of the application, and much more.

So, from this article, I’m have discussed all the information you need to know before determining how much weight can your wood table hold.

Maximum Load Capacities of Wood tables

Computer table, coffee table, dining table, lack table, and many more other types of tables we use in our household or industries.

So, the maximum load capacity of a wood table varies according to the type of the table.

TableMaximum weight can hold (Average value)
Coffee table300 lbs (136 kg)
Computer table150 lbs (68 kg)
Folding kitchen/Dining table440 lbs (200 kg)
Workbench440 lbs (200 kg)
Dining table330 lbs (150 kg)
Dining bench550 lbs (250 kg)

The maximum weights displayed above are average values. But when you face the question of how much weight can a wood table hold, you have to consider many more factors before determining load capacity.

The conclusions that I got from my researches are mentioned below.

Factors that Affect the Maximum Weight of Wood Table

Before you going custom make or buy, you need to consider about following factors that affect the maximum loading capacity of the table.

  1. Stiffness of the table material
  2. Maximum Bending strength
  3. Maximum compressive strength

Stiffness of the Table Material

Stiffness means how much wood deflects when the load is applied to the table perpendicularly.

To know the stiffness of the table material, you don’t need to have a wide knowledge of equations or engineering techniques.

You just need to know Higher the stiffness means Higher the load capacity. For your ease, I have researched and listed the stiff value of popular wood types we use in making tables.

From that, you can simply determine,  how much weight your wood table can hold.

Table materialStiffness (Maximum load) / Mpsi
Maple, Hard1.83
Maple, Soft1.64
Oak, Red1.82
Oak, White1.78
Fir, Douglas1.95

*Mpsi = Mega pounds per square inch of the table

From these results, you can select what type of wood should use to make the table. If you’re going to apply to weigh perpendicularly to the table, stiffness is important.

How Much Weight Can Wood Table hold

Maximum Bending Strength

Maximum bending strength means the amount of weight your table can hold when the load is applied perpendicular to the grain without breaking. 

The maximum weight a horizontal beam of the table hold depends on how the weight is applied, span, the build wood type, support of the ends, and cross-sectional area.

The maximum bending strength also varies according to the table material.

Higher bending strength means a Higher load capacity.

Here is the information that I have gathered.

Table materialStrength (Maximum load) / psi
Maple, Hard15800
Maple, Soft13400
Oak, Red14300
Oak, White15200
Fir, Douglas12400

*psi = Pounds per square inch of the table

Maximum Compressive Strength

The maximum compressive strength depends on the strength of the table legs.

From maximum compressive strength, we can determine how much weight can apply parallel to the grain without breaking.

How many loads can the legs of a table hold before they break. When measuring this value the weight is applied along the axis of the legs through the center.

However, Higher compressive strength means a High amount of load capacity can hold by its wooden legs, which is very important when making legs for a wood table. Here is what I found for legs with the same cross-sectional area.

Table materialStrength (Maximum load) / psi
Maple, Hard7830
Maple, Soft6540
Oak, Red6760
Oak, White7440
Fir, Douglas7230

*psi = Pounds per square inch of the table

Strength of Hackory wood table

Increase the Maximum Load Capacity of Wood table

Are you going to buy a wood table from the internet or any shop store? Or Did you make a custom table by following Youtube or any other tutorial?

Are you afraid of its loading capacity, because the weight of your instruments are higher than the loading capacity of a wood table according to the website?

Well, this is a situation that you have to conclude by brainstorming.

Same when you custom-make wood table with not much considering its maximum load and finally you found the maximum load of its wood material is lesser than your required value.

After years of working with woods, I have a very clear idea about those numerical values about maximum weight.

There is a 90% chance the table that you bought/ custom-made wood table will hold at least twice the maximum load capacity.

But it is important to increase the maximum load capacity of the wood table because at some point overloading can damage the table very soon.

To increase the maximum weight a wood table can hold, you have to mainly focus on its top material.

Because that can be the weak point of the table. Applying a huge amount of load over the middle of the table could overload/overstress the top and it can cause to break the table.

The simplest way to fix the top layer is by putting more weight directly over the legs without centering the weight to one specific area. Spread the weight all over the table evenly.

But if you really need to increase the strength of the center of the top layer without spreading the weight, you can affix ribbing from top to bottom of the table to spread the weight evenly.

But this cannot be done if there is no enough material on top of the layer to attach to or when it’s a very thin wood material.

If your wood top layer is very thin, it can show some lateral movement with the applied weight.

With the application of lateral force in different directions, the fasteners/joints which holding the legs tightly will fail and the table can be completely useless. This happens especially because the table is made out of wood.

To prevent lateral movements with load, you can attach one side of the table to a wall as a support. This will be your best bet because the maximum loading capacity definitely will be increased.

So, let’s focus on the FAQ section about wood tables and their loading capacities.

Related Questions

  • What wood can hold the most weight?

Hickory with 20200 psi bending strength and 9210 psi of compressive strength.

Honestly, this is one of the best materials that can hold a very large amount of weight with excellent support.

  • How thick should coffee table legs be?

Around ¾” thick and 4″ wide. You can get better strength if thicken it more.

  • How should I make a table base?

I highly recommend using T-style table bases, because they can provide excellent support over the huge surface to hold a large amount of weight.

Walter Parker is a woodworking enthusiast. He is passionate about woodworking projects & plays with woodworking tools having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Woodworking Planet. He wants to make people love woodworking! Read More About Him!

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